FERC Orders, Notices, and Other Guidance Regarding the Novel Coronavirus

Last week the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) continued to issue orders, notices, and guidance related to the current novel coronavirus pandemic, the health and safety of FERC and energy industry employees, and the continued reliability of the U.S. energy sector.  A summary of FERC’s relevant actions are provided below, including information regarding FERC’s operating status, extensions for filing deadlines and efforts to ease regulatory burdens during this crisis. Continue Reading

State-Level Rent Relief Due to COVID-19 Impacts: California Governor Newsom’s Executive Order Explained

As state and local governments act to address the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, relief for renters impacted by the coronavirus has come from both state and local policymakers.  In previous posts, we covered San Francisco’s and San Diego’s efforts to temporarily ban evicting residential and commercial tenants impacted by COVID-19.  In this post, we explain Governor Gavin Newsom’s Executive Order, issued on March 27, creating a statewide moratorium on evicting renters impacted by COVID-19.  Here are key takeaways from the statewide Executive Order. Continue Reading

California Judicial Council Adopts Rule Tolling Statute of Limitations

On April 6, 2020, the State Judicial Council adopted emergency amendments to the California Rules of Court in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  One important change that affects many real estate transactions and development projects tolls the statute of limitations for all civil causes of action from April 6, 2020, until 90 days after the Governor declares that the state of emergency related to the COVID-19 pandemic is lifted.  Among other things, this extends the date for initiating litigation challenging a CEQA document or a development approval, such as a tentative map or conditional use permit.  This also affects the date of “final approval” under many real estate purchase agreements and creates additional uncertainty for project proponents.

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San Diego Responds to COVID-19 with Local Programs to Protect the Health of both Citizens and Businesses

In a continued effort to take aggressive steps to protect the health and welfare of its citizens from COVID-19, the City of San Diego (“City”) enacted a temporary moratorium on evictions to provide relief to residential and commercial tenants facing financial hardship related to the pandemic (the “Ordinance”) and established a Small Business Relief Fund (“SBRF”) to provide grants and forgivable or low-to zero-interest-rate loans to eligible small businesses for working capital.

Here is what you need to know about the Ordinance and the SBRF Program.

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New Shelter-in-Place Orders Dramatically Restrict Bay Area Construction, Including Residential Projects

As the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise, state and local officials in California are taking increasingly aggressive action to stop the virus’ spread through Shelter-in-Place (“SIP”) orders.  In addition to Governor Newsom’s statewide SIP order, six Bay Area counties  – San Francisco, Santa Clara, San Mateo, Marin, Contra Costa, and Alameda – have issued more restrictive local SIP orders.  New versions of these local orders, published on March 31st and substantially identical, clarify uncertainties in prior orders and dramatically narrow the scope of allowable construction projects.  These new orders are in effect from April 1st  through May 3rd, but are subject to further extension. Continue Reading

San Francisco Temporarily Bans Evicting Residential and Commercial Tenants Impacted by COVID-19 Epidemic

As of the beginning of April, more than one million Californians have applied for unemployment assistance.  While state and local officials are seeking to address this aspect of the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic in a number of ways, renter protections are among the most visible measures to emerge.  In San Francisco, Mayor London Breed issued a series of Declarations temporarily banning commercial and residential evictions if the tenant cannot pay rent due to COVID-19 impacts.  Here are important takeaways from the Declarations. Continue Reading

Governor Abbott of Texas Issues New Order

On Tuesday, March 31, 2020, Governor Greg Abbott issued an Executive Order effective 12:01 A.M., Thursday, April 2, 2020, directing every person in Texas to minimize social gatherings and minimize in-person contact with people who are not in the same household, except where necessary to provide or obtain essential services. The Executive Order issued by Governor Abbott is set forth here. Continue Reading

Emergency Tenant Protections Take Effect in the City of Los Angeles

On Friday, March 27, 2020, the Los Angeles City Council adopted an emergency ordinance (Ordinance No. 186585) (“Ordinance”) with sweeping protections for commercial and residential tenants.  Yesterday afternoon, March 31, 2020, Mayor Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles signed the Ordinance, which became effective immediately. Continue Reading

Cryptocurrency Miners I“rate” At Energy Rate Decision

A Washington state federal court recently addressed claims relating to rates that cryptocurrency mining companies pay for electricity in Grant County, Washington. The court rejected all of the miner’s legal claims. The dispute focused on the rate classification that this utility applied to crypto miners as explained below.  Due to various risks, the electric utility assigned the miners to a newly created rate class referred to as “Evolving Industries,” resulting in a higher rate class for the miners.  The miners were I-“rate” with this decision. Continue Reading

U.S. EPA’s Temporary COVID-19 Enforcement Discretion Policy

On Thursday, March 26, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) announced and issued a Memo establishing an agency-wide temporary enforcement policy suspending or staying a broad array of enforcement efforts for certain environmental regulations and requirements in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  The Memo states that EPA recognizes that “the pandemic may affect facility operations and the availability of key staff and contractors and the ability of laboratories to timely analyze samples and provide results.”  In light of this, the Memo states that EPA will “focus its resources largely on situations that may create an acute risk or imminent threat to public health or the environment.”  The Memo establishes certain limits on the policy as well as procedures that must be followed – which are different in different circumstances – in order for an impacted regulated entity to qualify for relief under the Policy. Continue Reading

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